Legal support and agreements.ppt
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Legal support and agreements.ppt

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  • If the licence is exclusive, the L’or does NOT automatically retain any right to use therefore vital to explicitly include one. Academics who tell you they can rely on the ‘research exemption’ are wrong. There is a research exemption but it is narrow. It would not protect most academic research. Limited to […………] Definition of an infringing act is [……..] Makes a product or uses a process. Act does not mention what the purpose of the act is – however benign or innocent it is, it remains an infringement. Yes, there are exemptions. Set out at [………..]
  • Also: What happens if PI moves on/research group changes etc…. Impact on exclusivity – third party could put in research agreement. No access to the technology itself but would have the results. Which is as good as having had the opportunity to use the technology. Improvements – careful how they are defined Avoid creating long lasting pipeline into research group and committing all future technology

Legal support and agreements.ppt Legal support and agreements.ppt Presentation Transcript

  • ASTP – Site Visit Oxford 14 th September 2007 Legal Support and Agreements Mr Stephen Brett, University of Oxford
  • Legal resource – the Isis experience
    • Nature of the work
      • Licensing
      • Consultancy
      • Spin out formation
      • Spun out work – further funding, acquisition
      • Internal education
      • Policy
    • Internal resource
      • Known quantity
      • Very little work handed to external advisors
        • unless expert advice needed (eg tax, foreign jurisdiction)
      • Responsive to:
        • internal priorities
        • internal policies
  • How is the legal resource used?
    • You are the client
    • Lawyers advise, lawyers do not decide
  • How is the legal resource used?
    • Lawyers advise, lawyers do not decide
      • It is for the lawyer to offer advice of the level of risk involved
      • It is for the company to decide whether to accept any given risk
      • Lawyers can escalate but cannot veto
    • Foreground:
      • Project managers
      • Academic liaison, patenting strategy, marketing, lead commercial negotiations
    • Background:
      • Lawyers
      • Legal aspects of drafting and negotiations: identify, assess and minimise risk
    • Working relationship relies on trust:
      • Lawyers:
        • accept that agreements will not be perfect
      • Project managers:
        • accept that lawyers are not an obstacle to be avoided but are a useful resource that is worth consulting
  • How is the legal resource used?
    • Limited and expensive resource
      • Cant be everywhere all at once
      • Risk of unnecessarily high dependency
    • Suite of standard documents
      • Available to project managers to use unsupervised
      • Template agreements
      • Accompanying notes:
        • Alternative clauses
        • Common arguments and appropriate responses
        • Identify whether:
          • need to escalate to (identified) senior management; or
          • within project manager’s discretion
    • Clarity
      • Decision maker clearly identified
      • Institutional policy clear
        • University Statutes & Regulations
        • Isis Operating Procedures
  • Frequent issues
    • Issues arising in negotiations:
      • Warranties and/or indemnities
        • Always requested but Isis policy is not to provide
      • Assignment
        • Always requested but Isis model is not to provide
      • Licence back for academic use
        • Always needed to allow the University to continue to function
    • Risk assessment - due diligence process:
      • Is there a complete paper trail?
      • Identify and address risks
      • What can be disclosed?
  • Warranties in theory
    • Licensor can choose to give warranties:
      • Verifiable
      • Acceptable risk?
      • Institution’s policy
    • Licensor is not obliged to give warranties:
      • Technology transfer executives are not lemmings
      • It often is not “common practice”, as the Licensee will claim
        • ask for examples – “prove it”
      • What is reasonable? Who is best placed to bear the risk?
    • Can the licensee’s concern be addressed in other ways?
      • Price
      • ‘Approval’ period
      • Qualified warranty?
      • Assisted due diligence
  • Warranties in practice
    • Context of negotiation:
      • Resource limited research institution with a different set of priorities
      • Internal position
    • Warranty of ownership:
      • Level of internal due diligence performed
      • Strength of internal policy and regulation
      • History of the technology
      • Acceptable level of risk?
    • Warranty of non-infringement:
      • Guaranteeing a negative
      • Due diligence unavoidably restricted
      • Control over future use of the technology
      • Acceptable level of risk?
    • Warranty of quality:
      • Early stage technology that will be developed further
      • Pass on the benefit of warranties from others?
      • Acceptable level of risk?
  • To assign or to licence? One off payment Ongoing revenue Control diminished Control retained Rights surrendered Residual rights available Ownership surrendered Ownership retained Assignment Licence
  • To assign or to licence? Ongoing relationship More realistic assessment of value Ongoing revenue Patent process & patent protection Development plan Policing through audit rights Control retained Sole Non-exclusive Exclusive in restricted field or territory Explicit ongoing research right Residual rights available to Licensor
    • “ all of [institution’s] right title and interest in”
    • Risk of Licensee:
    • insolvency
    • failing to adequately exploit
    Ownership retained
  • To assign or to licence?
    • Is there any practical difference between:
    • an exclusive, all fields, worldwide licence
    • and
    • an assignment?
  • Can the researcher still research?
    • Probably not
      • Unless agreement specifically permits
    • Exaggerated myth of the research exemption in the UK:
      • It is an infringing act to:
        • makes a product or uses a process without consent of proprietor
      • No requirement that the infringement be for a commercial purpose
      • s60(5)(b) Patents Act 1977
        • Exemption for:
          • “ experimental purposes relating to the subject-matter of the invention”
        • Narrow interpretation:
          • Tests in order to discover something unknown; and
          • Relating to claims of the patent
  • Can the researcher still research?
    • Yes, if the licence permits it:
      • Ensure the licence terms explicitly reserve adequate research rights to the Licensor
    • Consider:
      • Extent of research right needed
      • Sub-licensing:
        • licensor to the parent institution
        • academic collaborators?
        • other academics?
      • Provision of materials to external academic parties
      • Further research funding may be from commercial source:
        • risk of ‘back door’ access may impact upon exclusivity
        • possible restrictions on the use of the output imposed by third party funder
        • is the output committed to licensee?
      • Commercialisation rights over output
  • Any questions?